Former Connacht and Leinster rugby player Damian Browne can't even swim, yet he's thrown himself head first into the Atlantic as he navigates his trusty Darien across the ocean all by his lonesome.

He's trying to emulate fellow Galway man Gavan Hennigan, who completed the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge solo last year in an astonishing 49 days.

Browne - who had no previous rowing experience and warmed up for the challenge by rowing up and down the west coast of Ireland - is 24 days, a third of the way, into the race and unlikely to get close to the scorching pace Hennigan set, but his spirits are high.

"I've just been grinding away, trying to get close to 50 miles every day, that's been my target," he said on a video posted to his Facebook page.

"I think one day I got there, maybe two days. I believe I passed 1,000 nautical miles today (Sunday). It's taken 24 days - I didn't think it would take anywhere near that long! Despite all the setbacks, things are good."

It hasn't been plain sailing. On St Stephen's Day he hit some very rough weather, enduring two capsizes and a nasty gash just above his eye.

Bloodied but unbowed, Browne has had a close encounter with a whale - "he circled the boat about four or five times, came up at one stage and made f***ing eye contact!" - been forced into running repairs, and gone through "insane" days where he's been in "survival mode".

But still he keeps moving on, edging closer to his final destination of the English Harbour in Antigua.

"The highlight of the last few days was definitely getting in for a swim," Browne added.

"I can't swim so getting in in the middle of the Atlantic was something I had reservations about to put it lightly.

"I got in, obviously I was tethered to the boat. It was incredibly refreshing, incredibly blue, something I'll never forget, looking below you and thinking there's literally miles of water to the bottom. Pretty crazy."